What Pa Konate Brings to FC Cincinnati

A closer look at Pa Konate’s pedigree, player attributes, and how he’ll bolster FC Cincinnati defense in 2018 and beyond.

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Photo Credit: Anders Henrikson

FC Cincinnati announced more player news on Wednesday with their third signing of the summer MLS transfer window. Defender Pa Konate will join the Orange & Blue on loan from Italian Serie A club S.P.A.L. 2013. Konate signed an MLS contract with FCC for a year-long loan. Further, they will add him to the current team’s roster on a USL loan for the remainder of 2018, pending receipt of his transfer papers. Konate is already in Cincinnati training with the squad.

For our feature articles on Monday’s Fanendo Adi and Fatai Alashe transfer announcements, look here.
What Fanendo Adi Brings to FC Cincinnati
What Fatai Alashe Brings to FC Cincinnati

What Pa Konate Brings to FC Cincinnati

Young Top-Flight Tested Talent

Similar to Fatai Alashe, Konate is on the early side of his professional career but has already amassed significant top-flight experience. His pro career began at Malmö, the Allvenskan powerhouse, at age 19. After being part of their youth system, he spent four seasons competing for first team playing time, and amassing 56 total league appearances. Konate saw the most action in 2016, when he made 22 Allvenskan appearances for the club. Malmö claimed the Swedish championship four of the five years Pa Konate spent there.

Konate also made six Champions League group stage appearances with Malmö. He faced big-name opposition in the form of Juventus, Atletico Madrid, and PSG on Europe’s biggest stage in 2014 and 2015.

He’s also been in Sweden’s international setup. Konate made 15 appearances with the Sweden U-21 squad and three appearances with the full national team in friendlies with Estonia, Finland, and the Ivory Coast. Despite this experience, Konate is considering a switch to his father’s native Guinea as they compete for qualification for the African Cup of Nations.

Pa earned a move to Serie A’s S.P.A.L 2013 in the summer of 2017, but did not make any league appearances during the 17-18 season. He did appear twice in the early rounds of the Coppa Italia. Now Konate is in Cincinnati in search of playing time and a full transfer to FCC if his loan goes well.

All-in-all, the player brings some high quality experience for his age and is looking to make a breakthrough in the United States.

Left Back Depth

Blake Smith has been a determined and consistent presence on FC Cincinnati’s back line this season. He’s also played a marked role in FCC’s recent success and ten game unbeaten streak. Whether Konate can claim the starting left back position in place of Smith remains to be seen. FCC’s staff clearly sees promise in the Swede if they are willing to use an MLS international spot on the player. Koch says that he expects Pa to “compete for playing time immediately.”

Regardless of who starts though, this is clearly a position where FC Cincinnati needed more depth. Lance Laing, who is the next best option at left back has been injured for a good portion of the season. It was fantastic to see Lance back on the field against Espanyol, but it’s also good to see FCC proactively addressing the need. Laing, when healthy, is arguably a more natural left-sided winger than a left back. Sassano and company are ensuring FCC has the depth to rotate and recover from a potential injury during the second half of the season. Konate also clearly has the credentials to advance to MLS when the time comes.

Player Attributes

The one quality that seems to stand out in defining Pa’s game is attacking. This is what Konate had to say when asked about his own qualities in an interview with Sweden fan website svenskafans.com.

“I’m an offensive extremist. I want to be on my way up and go up to the assault as much as possible. I think I’m good at the defensive and in the main game too, but I’m offensive.”

Pa shows off this attacking prowess in this match clip from Malmö’s Champions League encounter with PSG.

“Pa is an excellent technical left back who is willing to join in the attack and is also an excellent defender. We are excited to get him back up to match speed, so that he can recover his form that he showed at Malmö and earned him his move to Serie A.” –Alan Koch

Pa is a Swedish citizen, born in Malmö, but has a Gambian mother and a Guinean father. Interestingly, each of FC Cincinnati’s three signings in this transfer window have West African roots.

With three players in the door, FC Cincinnati’s summer transfer business might be complete. However, with a week left in MLS’s secondary transfer window, there’s still a chance for opportunity to present itself.

Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s 2018 season.

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Photo Credit: Anders Henrikson

What Fatai Alashe Brings to FC Cincinnati

A closer look at Fatai Alashe including his MLS pedigree, his all-American path to the pros, and what attributes the player will bring to FC Cincinnati’s central midfield.

Photo Credit: Noah Salzman

FC Cincinnati held a press conference on Monday to officially introduce their shiny new MLS signings. Midfielder Fatai Alashe and striker Fanendo Adi joined the Orange & Blue as the team’s first two top-division acquisitions. Both will join in short order and play the rest of the 2018 USL season with the club.

For our feature article on Fanendo Adi’s transfer, look here.
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What Fanendo Adi Brings to FC Cincinnati

Fatai Alashe joins as a 24-year-old defensive midfielder and a U.S. U-23 International. He’s been with the Quakes since 2015 when he was the fourth overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft. Facing a similar situation to Adi, Alashe saw less playing time when the Earthquakes changed coaches. He then seized the opportunity to join FC Cincinnati’s upstart MLS project. Alashe is on loan from the Quakes through the end of the 2018 season, but FCC has obtained his rights for 2019 in exchange for $60,000 in TAM and $75,000 in GAM.

What Fatai Alashe Brings to FC Cincinnati

Young but MLS Tested

At 24 years old, Alashe is now one of the youngest players on FC Cincinnati’s roster. Only Sem De Wit is younger. However, Alashe has amassed a fair bit of MLS experience despite being on the early side of his career. He has three and a half years in the league and was a fixture in Dom Kinnear’s Earthquakes in 2015 and 2016. He has accumulated 69 MLS starts and 89 total appearances.

Alan Koch had the following to say about Alashe joining FC Cincinnati:

“Fatai is a player who brings a wealth of MLS experience at a young age. He’s shown his quality over the last few seasons in MLS, and we envision him contributing to our team both short and long term.”

This 2017 MLS feature “The Prospect” highlights his potential.

All-American Development Product

One interesting aspect of Alashe’s development is the path he’s taken to FC Cincinnati. He’s an unmistakably all-American soccer product. The Michigan native has traversed all of the U.S. soccer stops including the Development Academy (DA), NCAA, PDL, U.S. U-23 squad, USL, and of course MLS.

He played elite youth soccer at the Vardar Academy in Michigan where his U17/U18 team won the U.S. Development Academy national championship in 2010. Alashe went on to Michigan State University where he captained the team his senior year. He also started every match in 2014 and took the Spartans to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament.

While in college he played PDL soccer with Reading United in 2013 and the Portland TImbers U23s the following year. In January of 2015 he was drafted by San Jose and began his MLS journey, immediately featuring in the starting roster. He also made a brief stop in the USL in 2017 on two separate loans stints at Reno 1868, San Jose’s affiliate.

Alashe earned his soccer stripes in the American system, and his success underlines the importance of leagues like the PDL that provide players opportunities to prepare for the professional game.

Alashe said of his time in the PDL:

“I would say the PDL helped me a lot in order to reach my dream of playing professionally. I was exposed to high-level soccer playing with some of the best players in the country on every PDL team I played with. My time spent at both Reading United and Portland Timbers U23 were huge parts of my development as a player.”

Player Attributes

Alashe joins FC Cincinnati in the most crowded position on the current roster, central midfield. He’s a rangy holding midfielder with a tireless engine. He’s known for being “very physical” and having “tremendous athletic attributes.” [MLS]

After the MLS Draft, Top Drawer Soccer described Alashe as being a “disruptive force in the center of the field that can cover a lot of ground.”

In a “24 Players Under 24” piece assembled by MLS, one technical staffer described Alashe’s playing style. “He chews up ground. He’s an uber-athlete. He’s one of those guys that if you tacked a paintbrush to his pants, he’d paint the whole field.”

Fatai should be a fine complement to technical and possession-oriented midfielders like Richie Ryan and Corben Bone. Alashe can provide pace, physicality, and ball-winning ability, all while protecting the back four and continuing to grow other aspects of his game.

The following piece from 2017 also gives you some insights into Alashe’s interests,  personality, and favorite Premier League team.

With two signings in the door, the MLS transfer business is officially underway. However, some more news might be right around the corner. Luke Sassano suggested that he is “looking to add maybe one more piece” before the MLS secondary transfer window closes on August 8th.

Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s 2018 USL season and future MLS transactions.

What Fanendo Adi Brings to FC Cincinnati

Reports indicate that Fanendo Adi and Fatai Alashe are heading to FC Cincinnati as the team’s first two MLS signings. Here’s what Adi will add to FCC’s roster.

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Photo Credit: Ray Terrill via Creative Commons

On Sunday afternoon, ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman reported that FC Cincinnati will imminently announce the signing of striker Fanendo Adi and midfielder Fatai Alashe as the club’s first two MLS signings.

Update: The transfer of both Fanendo Adi and Fatai Alashe was officially announced by FC Cincinnati on Monday July 30th. Adi’s rights were exchanged for $450,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) and $400,000 in MLS Targeted Allocation Money (TAM). Portland can also receive up to $100,000 in future TAM for Adi’s on-field performance, as well as future transfer value through the 2020 summer transfer window.

Adi, a 27 year-old Nigerian forward currently with the Portland Timbers, is a Designated Player, and would presumably have the same designation for FC Cincinnati. Following the departure of coach Caleb Porter at the end of 2017, Adi wasn’t getting the starts he’s seen the past few years in Portland. He reportedly requested a trade earlier in July.

Fatai Alashe is 24 year-old defensive midfielder and a U.S. U-23 International. He’s been with the Quakes since 2015 when he was the fourth overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft. Similar to Adi, Alashe fell out of favor when the Earthquakes changed coaches and has made only two starts this season. He now appears to be on the move to the Queen City.

As an added benefit, both Adi and Alashe will reportedly play the rest of the 2018 USL season with the club.

FC Cincinnati is holding a noon press conference on Monday to officially introduce two MLS signings. Assuming things play-out as Twellman advertised, here are some thoughts about what Adi will bring to FC Cincinnati as a player.

What Fanendo Adi Brings to FC Cincinnati

A Mobile Power Center Forward

If you’re looking for a physical presence and clinical finishing ability, Fanendo Adi is the striker for you. He’s 6’4” tall, but in addition to his size and physicality, he’s known for his mobility, the quality and timing of his runs, dribbling ability, and having a knack for being in the right place at the right time. Here is his match-winning goal Saturday evening versus the Houston Dynamo.

He’s been described as “one of the best natural finishers in the league” and well-respected Crew and Sounders center back Chad Marshall said the following about him.

“Even as a big guy, he’s not afraid to hit you with a move and create space for himself. He’s a complete player and he’s a handful.” [Four Four Two]

Proven MLS Credentials

The Lagos, Nigeria native netted 54 regular season goals in 126 regular season MLS appearances with Portland. He ranks second in all time goals scored for the Timbers, behind only Diego Valeri. He holds the Timbers club record with 13 career braces, including one in his first Portland appearance.

Adi hit double-digit goals for three consecutive seasons prior to 2018, and helped the Timbers claim the 2015 MLS Cup, starting every playoff match. He netted two goals in that playoff run.

Ace Card in FCC’s USL Campaign

The Orange & Blue already boast one of the most powerful offenses in the USL. They have the second most total goals, the best goal difference in the Eastern Confernce, and are tied for first in conversion rate. Both Danni König and Emmanuel Ledesma are in the top 10 for goals scored, and now they add a proven MLS-caliber striker in Adi.

If FCC wasn’t the favorite for the USL Cup already, and arguably Real Monarchs and Pittsburgh have had great seasons too, they are certainly the favorites now.

The following MLS Insider feature on Adi from 2017 provides some good insights into the player.

Fits the FCC Mold

Not only is Adi a proven #9 that will immediately add DP-level MLS talent to FCC’s roster, he fits the character type that Alan Koch has pursued over the past year. A fan favorite, Portland provided Adi with a home tribute Saturday evening against the Houston Dynamo. Adi entered the match as a substitute in the 75th minute and went on to score the winning goal in the 80th minute. The admiration from his fellow teammates, the Timbers Army, and the Portland fans was palpable in his send off.

Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more on Fatai Alashe and coverage of the announcement of FC Cincinnati’s first two MLS player signings.

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Photo Credit: Ray Terrill via Creative Commons

Three Things Djiby Fall Brings to FC Cincinnati

FC Cincinnati held a press conference on Monday afternoon to announce the signing of their new #9, veteran Senegalese striker Djiby Fall.

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Photo Credit: Yelena Rybakova for Soccer.ru via Wikimedia Commons

For a second Monday in a row, FC Cincinnati announced the addition of a new striker to their 2017 roster. Djiby Fall joins the Orange and Blue from Irtysh Pavlodar of the Kazakstan Premier League. The news of Fall’s signing comes on the heels of acquiring 19 year-old Victor Mansaray on loan from Seattle last week. Fall will wear the #9 shirt for FC Cincinnati this season, highlighting the role the club has planned for him. For a bio of the Senegalese striker, see the FC Cincinnati press release.

Landing Fall highlights another recent FC Cincinnati acquisition, assistant coach and head scout Alan Koch. Koch revealed during the press conference that he located and landed Fall through an agent in his scouting network.

At 31 years of age, Fall has seen a lot of football in a lot of countries. His career peaked statistically between 2008 and 2010 while playing in Scandinavia. He won the Golden Boot in Denmark before making a move to Lokomotiv Moscow. Unfortunately for Fall, he couldn’t produce the same goalscoring results in Russia and was loaned back to Scandinavia where he again found success.

His jersey reads “Djiby” and in addition to a warm smile, he’ll bring the following to the Orange and Blue this season.

A clear #9 – Not only will he wear the number 9 shirt but he looks built and bought specifically to be a strong target center forward. He’s got plenty of competition for that role with Fordyce, Mansarary, Cummings, and Townsend in contention. They mentioned in yesterday’s press conference that Andy Craven, also a striker, is likely to play on the wing.

International Experience – Europe is the home of the best leagues in the world. Although Fall didn’t feature in Europe’s top leagues, the standard there is high, and he got games and goals in that environment. No one else on FC Cincinnati’s roster can boast the same. Fall and Omar Cummings can provide valuable lessons to FC Cincinnati’s younger players on how to be a professional and how to succeed at the next level.

Proven Goalscoring Credentials – Fall has stuck the ball in the back of the net in France, Denmark, U.A.E., Norway, Belgium, Turkey, and Kazakstan. He’s been doing this around the globe for over ten years. Let’s hope he’s still got it and finds form like he had in Denmark for FC Cincinnati this USL season.

Here’s some recent goalscoring footage from Fall’s time with Randers in Denmark during the 14/15 season. He’s a classic power forward with a penchant for headed goals. This video skips some of the painful music associated with other video montages of Fall. I’ll take Danish commentators over that any day.

The addition of Fall concludes the offseason transfer business for the Orange and Blue. This weekend the team heads down to Bradenton, Florida to begin their preseason and defend last year’s IMG Academy trophy. There are three FC Cincinnati games to take in next week. Count ’em,…1,2,3, starting with the Sunday February 19th matchup against OKC Energy at 3:30pm.

Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s preseason.

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Photo Credit: Yelena Rybakova for Soccer.ru via Wikimedia Commons

What Victor Mansaray Brings to FC Cincinnati

FC Cincinnati’s acquisition of US U-20 team member Victor Mansaray from the Seattle Sounders adds raw talent and potential to an already deep attacking lineup.

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On Monday, FC Cincinnati signed U.S. U-20 international Victor Mansaray to a loan deal from the Seattle Sounders. For details of the transfer and a bio of the 19 year-old, see the following sources.
FC Cincinnati Lands Talent Victor Mansaray on Loan – Last Word on Soccer
FC Cincinnati Official Press Release

What does Mansaray Bring to FC Cincinnati?

He certainly checks a lot of boxes. He brings size, speed, tricks, finishing ability, potential, and US Youth National team cachet. He also brings the ability to play as a central striker or as a wide right player. He has played on the right for the U-20’s and Transfermarkt lists his position as a right winger. The MLS scouting report on Mansaray says he’s a “natural wide player.” He did start and score goals for S2 as a central number nine.

Getting Crowded In Here?

Mansaray is the fourth attacker signed this offseason by FC Cincinnati and will compete with Cummings, Townsend, Craven, and Fordyce to lead the line for the Orange and Blue. Coach Harkes made quite a point last year that nobody’s spot in the starting 11 is guaranteed. One would expect the same standards to apply to this year’s squad, which should make preseason competition entertaining to watch.

Or Will It?

Mansaray is currently in Orlando, Florida participating in the U.S. U-20 camp which lasts until February 10th. If he performs well there, he will be selected to compete in the U-20 CONCACAF Championships in Costa Rica. That runs from mid-February until early March. Four teams will advance from that tournament and go to the 2017 U20 FIFA World Cup in May. It will be truly exciting to have a player on FC Cincinnati’s books competing for our country on the international stage. It’s a double-edged sword though. Success with the U-20’s means less time playing and contributing for the Orange and Blue. It’s a good thing there is depth on the current squad to support this in and out movement.

Why FC Cincinnati and Not S2?

Why would the Sounders organization loan Mansaray to FC Cincinnati rather than develop him at their own MLS2 club? We haven’t heard from coach Harkes or anyone in the Sounders organization on this yet, but there are several plausible reasons.

  1. Sean Okoli was a young young striker with potential and a Sounders academy player. He needed experience, playing time, and service to develop. He got that at FCC and ended up with the USL MVP and Golden Boot trophies. Why not follow the same model to develop Mansaray?
  2. At FC Cincinnati, Mansaray will play and compete for minutes with more experienced professionals than at Sounders 2, players that he can model himself after (i.e.: one MLS proven goalscorer Omar Cummings comes to mind). Some have also suggested he needs to be pushed out of the nest to accelerate his development.
  3. Seattle may have other talented young strikers they want to develop in parallel. Mansaray’s loan move allows them to get valuable USL minutes for more than one player and see what pans out.
  4. Money. It’s likely a less important factor, but the receiving club typically pays the players wages for the season he is on loan.

Three Videos

#13 Masaray speaks about his first US Youth National Team experience in 2014 (0:47). The US U-18’s won the Vaclav Jezek tournament in the Czech Republic that year.

Mansaray scored a preseason Goal against Sporting Kansas City in February of 2015, after he was signed as a homegrown the November prior. Unfortunately for Mansaray, opportunities were limited and he made just three first team appearances in the regular season for less than 30 total minutes.

Here is a little more from the man himself in a video from shortly after he signed his Homegrown contract with the Seattle Sounders at the tender age of 17.

With the acquisition of Mansaray, the 2017 roster is looking largely complete. Perhaps a little more defensive depth would improve the squad, but FC Cincinnati 2.0 looks built to compete for USL Cup.

FC Cincinnati kicks off their preseason on February 19th against OKC Energy in Bradenton Florida. Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more color commentary on FC Cincinnati’s preseason.

Photo Credit: Major League Soccer

FC Cincinnati Captures Louisville City’s Captain

On Friday afternoon, FC Cincinnati announced the signing of attacking midfielder Aohdan Quinn, former team captain of rival Louisville City FC.

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Aodhan Quinn faced off with Jimmy McLaughlin in FC Cincinnati’s 2-0 victory over LCFC last July

FC Cincinnati pulled off a major coup on Friday by completing the signing of Louisville City FC’s 2016 team captain Aodhan Quinn. Quinn joins former teammate Kadeem Dacres as the second player to head to “the show,” and move up from Louisville to Cincinnati this offseason.

FCC Press Release

Quinn is a three year veteran of the USL. He spent one year with pre-MLS Orlando City SC in 2014 before moving to Cincinnati’s Eastern conference rival Louisville City. The San Diego, California, native is a 6-foot tall attacking midfielder and free kick specialist who had 3 goals and 3 assists last season. Did I mention free kicks? Before Sean Okoli was making the SportsCenter Top 10, Aodhan Quinn was doing it.

The 24 year old Quinn is no stranger to the Buckeye State. He spent three years playing collegiately for the Akron Zips, where he was a MAC Hermann trophy (most valuable college soccer player) semifinalist in 2013. He was picked 52nd overall in the 2014 MLS Superdraft by the Philadelphia Union (another FCC player with Union ties along with Berry, Hoppenot, and McLaughlin), but was not signed to a contract.

Apparently Quinn got the funny coach when he was at the MLS combine, based on his 2014 Coaches’ Assessment:

“Quinn is a good all-around attacking midfielder who can score goals and keep possession. He’s developed solid technique over his college career,…Quinn’s best quality is his high workrate and his drive to succeed… and not a small amount of confidence. “Aodhan thinks he’s a lot better than he maybe is,” one coach says.” [MLS]

Aodhan’s father, Brian Quinn, is from Belfast, Ireland, and spent time in the English Premier League with Everton during the early 80s. He then moved to the US to play in the NASL and MISL. He also made 48 appearances for the US national team.

Aodhan Quinn made 28 appearances last year captaining LCFC to a 2nd place Eastern Conference finish and a trip to the final four of the playoffs. With his talent, leadership, and experience, he’ll likely go straight into the starting eleven…but who will he displace?  Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Want to re-live a little of that 2-0 victory over Louisville from last July? Find it here.

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FC Cincinnati Bolsters Squad at Forward, Midfielder, and Hair

FC Cincinnati announced three new additions to its 2017 squad on Friday, forward Andy Craven and midfielders Aaron Walker and Marco Dominguez.

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Photo Credit: Seattle Sounders 2

On Friday, FC Cincinnati announced the signing of three new players for the 2017 season, forward Andy Craven and midfielders Aaron Walker and Marco Dominguez.

Aaron Walker made FC Cincinnati’s roster via the December open tryouts and will add depth in midfield. Recall that Omar Mohamed made the 2016 roster via the same route and saw a respectable amount of playing time. Let’s hope Walker, a Woodstock, GA native, can make a similar contribution this season. Walker has a personal highlight reel published on Youtube so you can see him in action. The highlights are taken from his 2015 spell with BÍ/Bolungarvik in the Icelandic 1st Division.

It’s interesting to note that FC Cincinnati now has two players with the surname Walker on their roster, which is more Walkers than any other USL club. This is a good move. It could be the first step in a strategy of stockpiling Walkers that sees the second year club accumulate as many as five by 2020.

Marco Dominguez is also a central midfielder and comes to Cincinnati from USL’s recently dissolved FC Montréal. He is a product of the Montréal Impact academy and has represented Canada at the U17 and U20 level. He’s has a physical presence and based on this 2015 academy video, has the ability to strike from range.

The 20 year old Quebec native started half of FC Montréal’s 2016 matches and contributed two assists. FC Cincinnati needed to reinforce their defensive midfield with a player that can deal with USL’s physicality, but still play the team’s passing and possession based style. Dominguez appears to fit the bill.

The race for the best hair on the 2017 FC Cincinnati roster is clearly heating up.

Andy Craven joins FC Cincinnati from USL’s OKC Energy, after spending time in the Seattle Sounders organization. In 2015, Craven made history in a two different ways. Craven has the distinction of being the first ever goal scorer in Seattle Sounders 2 history.

Craven also became the first ever player to be added to the Seattle Sounders’ MLS roster from USL’s Seattle Sounders 2. He split time between the Sounders 2 and OKC in 2016, scored three times, and brings flowing locks that can balance out Pat McMahon’s man bun on the back line. Andrew Wiedeman will be difficult to knock off his lofty perch at the top the FCC hair pyramid, but he’ll have fend off more long-haired competition this year to retain his crown.

Will any of these three will break into FC Cincinnati’s first eleven, or the will they simply provide depth to the squad. Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

Who remembers FC Cincinnati’s first ever goalscorer? Comment with the right answer and follow this blog. One person who does will be randomly selected to win a FC Cincinnati winter cap.

FC Cincinnati Signs Winger Dacres from Rival

FC Cincinnati Signs Winger Dacres from Rival: Read more about FC Cincinnati’s newest player, a former rival who’s signing was announced on Thursday morning.

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Rosedale, New York, native Kadeem Dacres spent last season terrorizing USL fullbacks with Louisville City FC. In 2017, he’ll suit up for the Orange and Blue as a key part of the second year club’s attack. On Thursday morning, FC Cincinnati announced Dacres’ signing as well as the re-signing of midfielder Eric Stevenson.

Read the FC Cincinnati press release

Dacres will arrive in Cincinnati following a two goal, two assist regular season with rival Louisville City. The 25 year old scored the decisive goal in Louisville City’s 2016 playoff victory against the Charleston Battery, sending LCFC to the Eastern Conference finals (see 2 minute mark).

Although his 2016 numbers aren’t gaudy, he stood out in the three games he played against FC Cincinnati. He is an electric attacker with pace, dribbling skills, and the ability to create and score goals.

The MLS site elaborates on his attributes as a player: “He’s tough. Good body: Athletic … Hard player. You knew he was going to bring it with everything he had. … Good wide left, tricky, fast, strong, tough. Good feet.” [MLS Soccer]

Dacres will likely take up position on the wing, opposite of Jimmy McLaughlin. That tandem of wingers, along with a marquee striker to replace Sean Okoli, should provide a fearsome strike force for the 2017 campaign. The signing of Dacres could mean that Andrew Wiedeman continues to plays more centrally in attack as he did toward the end of last season. The final shape of the 2017 offense clearly depends on what additional signings FC Cincinnati makes.

Dacres was drafted by the Chicago Fire in 2014 but not signed. He’s made 73 USL appearances with Arizona United (now Phoenix Rising) and Louisville City since then.

The signing is also interesting in the context of the Dirty River Derby. FC Cincinnati’s Kentucky rival has now lost both Chandler Hoffman and Dacres, two key components of their potent 2016 offense. There’s clearly time left before the start of the season, but Louisville City’s attack looks considerably diminished at the moment.

Looking for more video of the man in action?  His 2015 season highlights are available here.

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Casey Townsend Signed to Bolster FC Cincinnati’s Forward Ranks

FC Cincinnati signs striker from Wilmington Hammerheads in the wake of Omar Cummings’ injury.

FC Cincinnati announced the signing of striker Casey Townsend from Wilmington Hammerheads FC on Thursday afternoon.

The 27 year old Traverse City, Michigan native played collegiately at the University of Maryland and was selected 5th overall in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft. He made 28 MLS appearances for Chivas USA and DC United before spending time with 4 different NASL / USL clubs. Townsend joined the Wilmington Hammerheads just this year and scored 2 goals and 1 assist in 12 appearances with the club.

Photos Courtesy of Wilmington Hammerheads FC

The move was made by FC Cincinnati in the wake of a serious knee injury to standout forward Omar Cummings on August 24th. See the article below for more information.

Cummings Out for “Several Weeks”, Could Miss Playoffs

FCC General Manager Jeff Berding made the following comments regarding the transfer:

“As we look towards the final four games of the regular season and the playoffs, we wanted to ensure we had a full roster available to us and Casey will give the club some depth. He has been with some good clubs and will be a great option to have in the attacking third.” [1]

As part of the transfer agreement, Townsend will not be able to play against Wilmington in the upcoming match in North Carolina on Sunday September 11th. Mr. Townsend looks mighty good in Orange and Blue and will be a welcome enhancement to FC Cincinnati’s attacking options.

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